It’s 16 months since Marine Michael Ferschke died in Iraq. At the time of his death, Michael had a Okinawan born wife named Hotaru. Hotaru, or Hota for short, was pregnant with the couple’s first child when her husband died in Iraq.
Hota has since given birth to a baby boy named Michael Harvey Ferschke III. Mikey as he is known, will turn one-year-old next month.
Michael Harvey III sleeps peacefully under his father’s memorial, Sgt. Michael H. Ferschke Jr.,- February 2009
Not long after her husband died, Hota’s immigration troubles began. She and her husband were married by proxy while Michael was serving in Iraq. Hota was pregnant at the time. Proxy marriages are recognized by the United States military and she and Mikey are receiving survivor benefits.
Except Hota isn’t being given permanent residency status by immigration officials. The reason? A 50-year-old law that required Michael and Hota to consummate the marriage after the ceremony. That Hota had a baby fathered by a dead marine don’t count.
The marriage wasn’t consummated because Michael Ferschke died serving his country and protecting his fellow Marines.
More than 150 Marines, Ferschke’s parents, his widow and infant son gathered in the chapel to remember the 3rd Reconnaissance Marine killed Aug. 10 in Iraq.
The 22-year-old from Maryville, Tenn., was killed during a firefight in Salah ad Din province. He was credited with saving lives by drawing enemy fire to himself when his recon team entered a building where insurgents had holed up.
Now the country he died for is not honoring a fallen Marine’s wish for his wife to raise their son as an American.
It should seem a simple matter to grant Hota residency status(Mikey Ferschke while born in Okinawa is a United States citizen) but immigration is sticking to the letter of the law. There is even a recent law supposed to protect immigrant relatives of Soldiers and Marines killed in action. But Immigration doesn’t recognize Hota’ as Michael’s immigrant spouse because the marriage wasn’t consummated and therefore not legitimate. Do any of these idiots who refuse Hota residency realize that only because Michael Ferschke died serving his country, that the same country is using that reason for the denial?
I have heard few people who know the story of Hota Ferschke who don’t believe she should be able to raise her son in the country of his fallen father. Most people are actually appalled at what is happening.
After the birth of Mikey Ferschke, Hota was granted a tourist visa to come to the United States. Since late February of this year, she has been living with her in-laws in Tennessee.
Hota has an excellent relationship with the Ferschkes. Michael’s parents have welcomed Hota into their home and treat her like a daughter. Don’t forget Michael Ferschke Sr. and Robin Ferschke have also suffered a terrible loss. One that will be made worse by their daughter-in-law needing to take their grandson and leave the United States together.
This year a private bill was presented to Congress. It’s House sponsor is Congressman John Duncan, the representative for the Tennessee congressional district the Ferschkes live in. On the Senate side, Senators Webb from Virginia introduced the bill and both Tennessee Senators are also sponsoring it. Almost six months later, both the House and Senate have done nothing about the bill. Hota’s handful of backers in Congress have worked very hard for her.
It has been known from the time Hota arrived, that she had less than a year to get her immigration status settled. Hota was given a tourist visa to come here, and it was renewed. In Japan she is on a one-year leave from her job at Kadena AB. If she wants to keep that job, she needs to return to Japan in early January. She and Mikey are flying home on January 4th and at this moment nothing can be done to correct the injustice being done to Hota and the Ferschke. Maybe when our lazy Congress and President Obama get off their asses and go back to D.C. to do their work instead of vacationing right now, something will be done for Hota. Nobody knows when that will happen, if ever.
On Sunday Hota wrote at Facebook-
8 more days then I have to leave… ;(
Robin Ferschke replied to a email of mine today-
Hota and Mikey are leaving on Jan. 4th. Nothing has been done to the bill since Senator Webb introduced it on the Senate side. We are very upset that they are leaving. We tried so hard to get them all to understand the time line but I guess with the government they care about other things more. We still need many letters to the Senate and Congressmen. Right now I don’t know anything else to do.
Can’t you feel the pain tin what that mother has written? She lost her son, now she’s losing her daughter-in-law and her grandson.
Note- I’m a Facebook friend of Hota, Robin, and another close friend of the Ferschke family named Irene Cooper. Because of my support for Hota and the Ferschkes and the many blog posts I’ve written, the producers of online military documentaries contacted me last summer. Ultimately I wasn’t interviewed.
Below is the documentary in question. It is called ‘Second Battle‘ It tells Hota’s story and that of another wife of a soldier. The illegal alien spouse in ‘Second Battle’ eventually got her deportation stopped. Hota, a person who tried to legally enter this country for the purpose of raising her United States citizen son, will have to leave. Where is the justice in that?